At the ripe old age of 37, Paul Scholes decided to don his boots once again and come out of retirement for one last season at United.
Claiming he had started to “miss it”, Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to slip United’s ‘Ginger Prince’ straight back into the fold and help bolster a struggling midfield.
…need to replace him…
Scholes’s return emphasised United’s need to replace him on a more permanent basis, but how do you replace a player that has been labelled the greatest midfielder of a generation? Ferguson clearly doesn’t quite have the answer yet, but rumours of a £50 million summer bid for Modric continue to grow.
As Scholes stepped back out on the pitch during the FA cup third round against rivals Manchester City, it signalled the end of Darren Gibson‘s career at United, as well as confirming that understudies Anderson, Paul Pogba and Tom Cleverly are not quite ready to take up the mantle; injuries being partially to blame.
…built himself a legendary status…
As famous for avoiding media attention as he is finding a team mate from 40 yards with a pin point pass, Scholes has built himself a legendary status amongst United fans. 10 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two Champions Leagues, 2 League Cups and One FIFA world Club cup trophy are some of the reasons for him earning his reputation. But more so his understanding of the game, the ability to always find space, the killer pass, and the ability to dictate a match all on his own. And who can forget his shooting ability on the edge of the box.
Zinedine Zidane claimed “Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation.” Even Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez, arguably today’s greatest midfielder can’t help but heap praise on the small man from Salford. “In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen — the most complete — is Scholes.” Even Xavi’s manager flirted with the idea of the red devil ending his career with the Catalans before last year’s Champions League Final.
…wise old head…
It might just be a short encore, but that wise old head might be just what United need come the end of the season. Scholes is often used by Ferguson to sure up a game and hang to on a win. Something they desperately needed in this year Champions League after throwing away two leads and five points in both legs against FC Basel, ultimately sending them out in the group stage for the first time in six years.
Image courtesy of James Hurley